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'Midnight In Tokyo' is a compilation series that aims to be the perfect companion to nights in Tokyo, collecting tracks by Japanese artists that sound best at night. While vol. 2 focused more on ’80s jazz fusion, the latest installment, Vol.3, picks up where Vol.1 left off, bringing together forgotten soul, disco, and new wave gems.
The compilation opens with Japanese rare groove classic “More Sexy,” a provocative song by “the queen of sexy songs,” Yoko Hatanaka. “Kimi No Yume,” from the album Yume No Yonbai by the wandering poet Masumi Hara, is one of the best balearic acid folk songs to come out of Japan. “Silhouette Call” is an electric bossa nova track—in the vein of Antena—taken from the rare album called Octopussy by Yuki Nakayamate, a singer songwriter who also worked as a backing vocalist for Motoharu Sano.
“Theme Of High School Student” is a dubby cut featured on the soundtrack to the Japanese ’80s film Kougen Ni Ressha Ga Hashitta, written by Atsuo Fujimoto of Colored Music—one of the key artists in the recent wave of global interest in Japanese music.
“Get To Paradise” is a stone cold funk jam by Mari Kaneko, who was known as the Janis Joplin of Shimokitazawa in her heyday, and is now known as the mother of the drummer and the bassist of popular rock band Rize.
Following that is one of Japan’s greatest new wave disco track, “Hannya,” taken from Tomoko Aran’s popular third album Fuyu-kukan—produced by Masatoshi Nishimura who was part of the Friends Of Earth Project with Haruomi Hosono. Masako Miyazaki—whose rendition of Seawind’s “He Loves You” is a fan favorite—puts her own spin on the Earth, Wind & Fire classic, “Fantasy,” singing in her accent-heavy English which gives the song an undeniable character. “Watashi No Koukoku” is a certified disco boogie classic by popular singer Junko Sakurada. The Brazilian-esque jazz fusion, “Sunshine Bright On Me” is by a fusion group called Kangaroo, who were often billed as “the Japanese Shakatak.”
“Stranger’s Night” is a synth-pop number by pop idol Maiko Okamoto, which bears a suspicious resemblance to Rah Band’s “The Shadow Of Your Love.” Electro-pop disco “Singing Lady”—off the sole album released by the one-off project the Fad—sounds like something Giorgio Moroder could’ve cooked up. “Magic Eyes” is a disco anthem recorded by songwriter Tetsuji Hayashi’s disco project, the Eastern Gang. following that is Japanese soul gem “Crazy Baby,” found on a rare 7 inch entitled Minato No Soul by Rinda Yamamoto—also composed and arranged by Tetsuji Hayashi. and last but not least, closing out this collection of 14 Japanese rare groove goodies is “I’m in love”, a bittersweet mellow dance number by Tomoko Aran.
1/a1 Yoko Hatanaka - More Sexy
2/a2 Masumi Hara - kimi No Yume
3/a3 Yuki Nakayamate - silhouette Call
4/a4 Atsuo Fujimoto - theme Of High School Student
5/b1 Mari Kaneko - get To Paradise
6/b2 Tomoko Aran - hannya
7/b3 Masako Miyazaki - fantasy
8/c1 Junko Sakurada - watashi No Koukoku
9/c2 Kangaroo - sunshine Bright On Me
10/c3 Maiko Okamoto - stranger’s Night
11/c4 The Fad - singing Lady
12/d1 The Eastern Gang - magic Eyes
13/d2 Rinda Yamamoto - crazy Baby
14/d3 Tomoko Aran - i’m In Lov